What is CCaaS? A Guide to Contact Center as a Service

Barbara Kosko May 15, 2024

What is a Contact Center as a Service?

Contact Center as a Service (or in short, CCaaS) is a customer experience (CX) platform that allows organizations to consistently and efficiently manage all their contact center interactions from a single solution. Using CCaaS, businesses can manage a wide range of communications channels, including voice calls, emails, text messages, chats, as well as various social media messages from one place, while also keeping operational costs at bay.

Deployed in the cloud and sold as a subscription service, Contact Center as a Service offers a scalable alternative to traditional, on-premises call center solutions. CCaaS platforms provide companies with cost-effective, multi-channel contact center capabilities that answer their changing needs and requirements. Such platforms are mostly used by customer and employee support service centers, telemarketing centers, business process outsourcers, and other similar communications operations.

Although the concept of CCaaS technology is promising, not all vendors are the same. Still today, many of these platforms lack some of the most important capabilities, such as:

  • Openness
  • Flexibility
  • Technological advancements with AI

These features are required to help companies elevate CX while managing operational costs. Various regions or business units may use different vendors for voice or digital channels; plus, emerging social and messaging channels may not be supported at all. As today’s consumers are more impatient than ever, if they can’t interact with one brand (on their channel of choice), they’ll quickly switch to another.

That’s why CCaaS is key to improving CX. It offers customers the chance to reach companies when and where it’s most convenient for them, on the communications channel they prefer.

In this guide, we’ll uncover the key capabilities and main benefits of CCaaS platforms and how Verint’s Open CCaaS is different.

Evolution of CCaaS Platforms

CCaaS platforms are results of decades of technological advancements that started as early as the 1960s with the first ever call centers. As telecommunications and computer technology evolved, new capabilities were added to the technology stack that handles customer interactions and helps the human workforce.

First, simple voice communication was available, followed by the ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) for effective call routing. With the digitalization in the 1980s, the first IVRs (Interactive Voice Response) helped improve call capacity and quality. Yet, the real change was brought about by the Internet boom of the 2000s. It gave way to multi-channel contact centers and allowed for the move to the cloud and the rise of CCaaS. However, it’s important to differentiate traditional or first-generation CCaaS solutions that are still telephony-centric and require a large human workforce, and next-generation CCaaS platforms that make CX automation possible with advancements in AI. We’ll go into more detail about their different features a bit later.

Until then, take a look at this short timeline illustrating the main steps of the CCaaS evolution over decades.

CCaaS Platform Meaning and Evolution

There are fundamental differences in how they use technology to engage with customers.

Call centers are traditionally built around telephony only. They start with an ACD solution and,As a result, call centers often lack the depth and maturity to effectively serve various digital channels, which creates friction and leads to rigid siloes.

In comparison, contact centers can handle multiple communications channels, not only voice calls. In line with how consumer habits and preferences evolve, they have adapted to reflect the needs of the people they are serving. Contact centers, especially those built on next-generation CCaaS technology, focus on providing customer interactions across communications channels, including all digital channels, like social media and in-app messaging.

The biggest shift in recent decades has been moving from telephony-only call center service strategies to digital contact centers that are equipped to engage customers on their terms. It’s not that the ACD is dead, but now phone is just one of many touchpoints that companies offer to ensure consistent omnichannel experiences for customers.

What is the Difference Between CCaaS and UCaas?

CCaaS and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) are often used side by side in articles listing business communications solutions because they operate on similar technologies. Both applications are subscription- and cloud-based, yet their functions and customer base differ.

CCaaS and UCCaaS Difference

Read more about the differences between CCaaS and UCaaS here.

What is the Difference Between First-generation and Next-generation CCaaS?

As we’ve already established, a contact center uses more than voice comms to engage with customers, but first-generation and next-generation CCaaS platforms differ in how they are using technological advancements.

First-generation CCaaS

Early adopters of CCaaS technology, also called traditional or first-generation platforms, were typically closed and telephony-centric, which limited their ability to improve CX. They didn’t integrate well with other solutions, preventing organizations from growing and scaling as new communications channels and new technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) evolved.

Moreover, first-gen CCaaS platforms required a large human workforce: each interaction connected a customer to a human agent with little to no automation. As interaction volumes started to grow and companies needed to hire more and more agents, this approach was deemed unsustainable. Customers were forced to wait on hold, agents rushed to end interactions to move to the next customer, while costs skyrocketed.

With digital touchpoints becoming more central to customer engagement, vendors and businesses needed to move away from this telephony-first and human-centric approach. Instead, their goal is to introduce omnichannel engagement strategies to increase CX automation that can enable them to lower their labor costs while elevating the customer experience.

In theory, it sounds great, but there’s one catch. It’s not easy to open these rigid, closed CCaaS platforms that weren’t designed to support multiple channels seamlessly. Typically, with first-generation CCaaS, the move to the cloud needs to happen all at once, requiring a rip-and-replace process that is disruptive, creates a huge and painful burden for large organizations, and can take months, if not years to stand up.

But a smooth cloud migration process is not the only limitation of first-generation Contact Center as a Service platforms. Other notable restrictions that can negatively impact an organization’s ability to effectively engage with customers include:

  • Inability for agents to work across channels.
  • Lack of effective self-service options available for customers.
  • Lack of support for digital channels.
  • Ineffective management of high call volume spikes.
  • Siloed data in different departments.
  • Interaction data that’s not connected across channels.
  • Difficulty identifying actionable insights from customer interaction data.

Read more about why taking a telephony-first approach to CCaaS is not the way forward here.

Next-generation CCaaS

In comparison, a next-generation CCaaS platform is more open and designed for flexibility, allowing businesses to increase CX automation in their contact center at their own pace with the right mix of applications to fit their needs. In this setup, telephony is no longer in focus – it’s simply one of the many customer integration channels.

Open CCaaS is focused on continuously increasing CX automation in the contact center to elevate CX and reduce operating costs. By being open to a range of channels and modalities rather than focusing on just the voice channel, it gives companies the freedom to choose the right path for their contact center by:

  • Seamlessly integrating with any major ACD and hundreds of external business applications.
  • Enabling businesses to evolve their contact center ecosystem at their own pace.
  • Bringing all communication channels and modalities together onto a single platform.

Here’s how you can easily compare and contrast the most important difference between first- and next-gen CCaaS.

CCaaS first generation and CCaaS next generation difference

You can read more about first-generation and next-generation CCaaS and the future of contact centers here.

And if you’re interested in how an open CCaaS strategy can save your organization money, read this article.

Key Capabilities of Next-Generation CCaaS

Contact Center as a Service technology offers a variety of capabilities to route, manage, and analyze contact center conversations across channels. While many of these solutions look similar on the surface, they may not all meet businesses’ specific needs when it comes to lowering costs and elevating CX.
These are the most important contact center capabilities you should look for when exploring the CCaaS market:

Routing and Omnichannel Interactions

One of the primary capabilities of CCaaS is to route interactions across communication channels to the appropriate live or virtual agent and offer self-service options.
Accurately routing an interaction to the right agent can have a dramatic impact on the efficiency and quality of the interaction. Further, by intelligently routing the interaction with the proper historical context, you can prevent customers from having to repeat themselves.

Agent Assistance

Routing interactions is only the first step for Contact Center as a Service platforms. Connecting a customer to an employee by itself cannot ensure the subsequent interaction will be efficient, accurate, and compliant. Today agents are often working remotely while trying to balance a wide variety of customer inquiries, complex compliance requirements, efficiency metrics, and pleasing the customer.

Behavior Analytics and Insights

As there’s a growing need for customer engagements to become personalized, these interactions are getting increasingly complex. Businesses must find ways to adapt to changing customer behaviors by analyzing all engagement data to understand customer intent, sentiment, trends and feedback as well as workforce performance so you can continually improve CX and business outcomes.

Customer engagement analytics play a key role in customer engagement strategy and can span multiple areas.

Resource Management

This final critical capability of next-gen CCaaS solutions helps ensure companies have the right number and type of employees at all times. It’s important to deliver customer and operational insights and accurately forecast customer demand, so companies have enough staff to efficiently handle requests without overstaffing and paying for resources they don’t need. The key to success is getting this delicate balance right.

Main Benefits of CCaaS

Transitioning from call centers or first-gen contact centers to open CCaaS platforms brings about plenty of business benefits that increase CX automation. Let’s take a look at the most important CCaaS advantages below!

CCaaS solutions are agile and scalable, offering businesses the flexibility to efficiently react to changing customer and business needs. With next-generation CCaaS, companies can start where they need to, and keep existing investments that are still working for them. From there, they can take it step by step to evolve towards a best-practice customer engagement operation and grow CX automation along the journey.

Why Verint?

Being able to deliver exceptional CX across channels takes more than simply offering a variety of communications channels. Although different vendors may offer slightly different CCaaS capabilities, the key benefits of a best-of breed Contact Center as a Service solution revolve around the concept of openness.

Why is openness so important? Because it allows organizations to take advantage of all the benefits offered by increasing CX automation.

  • It’s how to meet elevated consumer expectations in the face of dwindling budgets and resources.
  • It’s how to build a hybrid workforce that augments human employees with automation bots.
  • It’s how to ensure you’re not left behind by technological advancements.


“By marketing its Open CCaaS platform as the primary tool for orchestrating both human and AI workforces, augmenting and continuously improving each with the other, Verint is positioning itself as a critical platform for companies that want to take advantage of the best capabilities of human and AI moving forward.”

Hayley Sutherland
Research Manager, IDC | "Verint Analyst Days 2023: Building on the Promise of Generative AI with 30+ Bots and Counting,” January 2, 2024"

Verint is uniquely positioned to help brands increase CX automation with our differentiated Open Platform with behavioral data and Verint Da Vinci AI at the core. Our platform offers brands a broad range of best-of-breed capabilities that are specifically designed to deliver tangible ROI. The key differentiators of Verint Open Platform are:

1) Openness

Many vendors claim to have an open platform, but because we are open in every dimension, Verint Open Platform provides capabilities no other vendor can offer.

  • Flexible: Verint Open Platform is designed to seamlessly fit into a brand’s current enterprise ecosystem. It provides hundreds of pre-built integrations and can easily connect with brands’ existing CRM, HR, data lakes, and other business applications. For instance, if your on-premises ACD is working fine, you can continue to use it with Verint.
  • Modular: With other vendors, in order to start using their platform you need to rip out your old one. This ‘rip and replace’ project can take years, cost millions of dollars, and has no guarantee of increasing CX automation. With Verint, you can deploy a bot in just a month and start seeing immediate ROI.
  • Future-proof: AI is evolving at a rapid pace. Because of this, a platform that is not open will soon become outdated. Rather than worrying about having to replace your platform in just a few years, our own AI models, Verint Da Vinci™, will continue to use new AI models from any source so your platform will not become outdated.

2) Data

Behavioral data consists of the interactions, customer experiences, and workforce data that are created across every touch point of the customer with the brand. For many brands, this behavioral data is locked up in data silos, and it is hard to access or use for deriving critical business insights. With Verint, however, you can:

  • Become a data-driven operation: Verint connects data silos into a unified data hub that can be easily accessed and leveraged to empower employees, supervisors, and managers with insights and turn the organization into a highly efficient, data-driven operation.
  • Gain real-time insights directly to business users: You no longer have to wait weeks for the insights you need to make improvements. Business users can access the data in the hub quickly and easily and get answers in real time. Having easy and real-time access to this unified data hub improves visibility and dramatically reduces the time from insights to action.
  • Use the data hub as the bot gym: Your AI is only as good as the data it is trained on. Verint bots train continuously in the data hub, which is the “bot gym” used to increase bot accuracy and drive significant ROI. Over time, our AI-powered bots become more accurate and effective based on machine learning and large amounts of highly relevant data.

3) AI

All vendors will talk about AI. Verint is not just an AI company, we are an AI outcomes company. All that matters to your organization is that you can deliver AI business outcomes now. That’s what Verint’s AI-powered bots can do.

  • Verint bots: Verint currently offers 40 AI-powered bots in the Verint Open Platform. Each bot is designed to automate a single human function to augment agents, managers, and other roles across the organization. The bots are simple and fast to deploy and start generating ROI quickly. Each bot was designed to increase CX automation and deliver measurable ROI by solving a specific business problem so you can see AI business outcomes now.
  • Verint Da Vinci AI – The bot factory: At the core of the Verint Platform is Verint Da Vinci AI which delivers the latest AI innovations to all the applications and bots running in the platform. Verint Da Vinci AI is the platform’s “bot factory,” where we combine the best commercial, open source, customer-provided, and proprietary AI models to create our AI-powered bots.
  • Engagement Data Hub – The bot gym: Bots continually train in the Engagement Data Hub on your unique behavioral data, so they become more accurate and effective over time.
  • Verint Workflows – AI at the fingertips of agents: The bots are embedded into the business workflows you use every day, putting AI at the fingertips of agents, managers, and other roles to increase workforce capacity, and elevate the customer and employee experience.

For over 20 years, Verint has been providing market leading business applications, intended to seamlessly work with whatever current communication platforms are being used and insulating business users from negative impacts of disruption.

Read more about Verint’s Open CCaaS imperative here.

Implementing CCaaS and Getting Started with Verint

Unlike most CCaaS platform vendors, Verint doesn’t require brands to complete long, disruptive, and risky ‘rip and replace’ processes to take advantage of our capabilities. Our open, modular platform allows you to increase CX automation at your own pace and with minimal operational disruption. You can choose applications or bots that meet your most pressing needs and see ROI immediately, while keeping the existing solutions that work for you.

Opus Research

“Verint’s mission is clear: to empower businesses with the combined force of AI and access to their data insights, ultimately propelling them into a new era of CX automation. However, what sets Verint apart is its pragmatic approach to implementation. Recognizing that companies often face budget constraints and are hesitant to embark on extensive technology transformations, Verint offers a simple yet powerful solution. They enable companies to start small, introducing specialized bots tailored to assist specific roles within an organization.”

Amy Stapleton
Senior Analyst, Opus Research | "Perspectives on Verint’s Analyst Days,” November 29, 2023"

Verint Open Platform makes it easy to start taking advantage of cloud capabilities while keeping some of your technology, including your telephony, on-premises. You can even start by simply adding AI-powered bots to your existing on-premises deployment to begin seeing the benefits of the cloud.

If you want to learn more about why Verint’s Open Platform should be your first choice for CCaaS technology, watch our webinar here.

And if you’re ready to get started with Verint, read our CCaaS buyers guide here.

Frequently Asked Questions about CCaaS

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is a customer experience platform that allows support service centers, telemarketing centers, business process outsourcers, and other similar communications operations to consistently and efficiently manage all their contact center interactions from a single solution .